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11 Steps to Create a Successful Website

11 Steps to Create a Successful Website

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Published by: Tr3LoS on Mar 31, 2010
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Easy navigation through your site is absolutely essential to a successful design. If the
path you lay out for your customers to follow is long, twisted and forks off without
reason, they’ll get lost – and you’ll lose the sale.

As part of planning in Step 1, we asked you to draw a simple diagram of all the pages on
your future Web site, beginning with the home page, then connect them in the order you
expect customers to follow.

Did it get messy? Too complicated? That’s your draft. Now you’ll refine it.

Try the same exercise by starting with the last page on your site diagram and working
back to the home page. A lot of designers find that much easier.

Now, is every page linked directly to the home page like spokes on a wheel? That can
work, but it requires your customers to go back to the home page every time they want
find more information, more page links. Do you have patience with that kind of back-
and-forth?

Copyright © 2007 StartupNation, LLC

21

Tip

7 Pages every Web site should have

Don’t look now, but your Web site might be missing a few pages—very important pages.

You’re not alone. Most small-business sites are a work in progress—constantly being revised,
improved, and updated. So invariably, something is always missing. But some pages are so
important that not having them could hurt your bottom line.

Here are seven pages every business Web site must have, and where they need to be:

1. Contact Us. Every small-business site should have a Contact Us page and it should
offer visitors a complete list of ways they can contact you – from e-mail addresses to
toll-free numbers to a physical address.

2. Testimonials. Many companies skip the Testimonials page because they consider it
too self-serving, While having a page like that may seem self-promotional, people will
look for it. And when they don’t find it, they might begin to make assumptions.

3. Privacy policy. Web users are more conscious about safety and privacy than ever,
so a good privacy policy is an absolute must. Linking to this page on any page where
you request personal information is a trust-builder and will decrease form abandonment.
Not only that, but many companies require that you have a privacy policy before they do
business with you. To get one, see the Better Business Bureau’s sample privacy policy.

4. FAQ. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are frequently forgotten, too. Why is an
FAQ page so important? Mostly, they’ll ensure you won’t have to answer the same
questions over and over. But it also is a convenience for site visitors.

5. A "gimme" page. Want readers to sign up for your newsletter or regular special
offers? Add a section where users can be persuaded to give up some of their personal
information (such as their names and e-mail addresses) in exchange for … well,
something else. In many cases, this is an informative report, a keychain, a chance to
win tickets to a ballgame, or a cash prize.

6. About Us. But just because you can do business with people you might never meet
doesn’t mean they don’t want to know about who they’re doing business with. The most
effective About Us pages are succinct and use no jargon.

7. Confirmation. A decent confirmation page that acknowledges an order and thanks
the visitor for his or her business is essential—and often lacking.

Copyright © 2007 StartupNation, LLC

22

Every one of your Web pages should have an obvious link back to home, and many
companies use their logo (with an embedded link) for that purpose. But it’s not enough.

Persistent navigation is much better. As long as one or more of the following elements
appears exactly the same way in the same place on every one of your pages, your
customers will be able to go wherever they want from any page on the site without first
heading back home. Here’s how to do it:

Menus. Every Web user is familiar with menus and how they work. Often found
on the left side of Web pages in vertical format, they may include clickable
buttons linked to products or categories, blog pages or glossaries, size charts or
shipping tables – anything that appears on the site’s other Web pages.
Tabs. Amazon.com was the first to use a horizontal row of “file folder tabs” at
the top of its Web pages to give users an easier way to find popular content on the
massive Web site. The fact that you now see tab-navigation everywhere on the
Web is proof of its usability.
Site map. This can a simple text list or a more visually appealing diagram that
shows where everything lives on your site. But if
you have a large site, the diagram can become
unwieldy. Just be sure your site map includes
everything on your Web site with links to each
page. You don’t need to put the map itself on
every page; just link to it from your menu. This
can also help you with your SEO efforts.

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